Friday, April 26, 2013
When I started on this journey of trying to get healthy (which began actually, as a journey to lose weight) my ideas of where I would end up were very different from where I am now
I had this vision of what I would be able to accomplish. I would be fit and thin, and I would RUN. I would run like a gazelle. I would be one of those people who ran every day to keep her sanity, and I would be SO PROUD of myself. It would be just like one of those before and after success stories in magazines. “This is Tina. She once said she would never run unless someone was chasing her. Now she’s preparing for her first…blah blah blah.” Being able to run meant success. It represented lightness….
I hit a snag in my plan though. I don’t LIKE running, and turns out….neither does my body!
I have come to realize, that idea of running to me, meant I’d won the battle. If only I can run for hours, I would find the peace and pleasure I had been looking for.
It looks so glamorous when you are overweight. The muscular bodies that make it look so effortless. You know the type, right? I see them when I’m driving in my neighborhood, and I envy them. Someone who runs with ease and grace and a relaxed, peaceful look on their face. It’s everything I thought I wanted.
And then I started.
Guess what. I wasn’t graceful. Nor was I peaceful. It was clunky and hard. I huffed and puffed, and felt like each step I was POUNDING on the ground. I would run until my joints hurt and I kept waiting for that moment when I would want to keep running, even through all that. I was never able to find peace in my mind when running. Instead my thoughts were more along the lines of…”God I hope no one sees me. This sucks. My foot hurts. How many more minutes?” I couldn’t figure out WHY I wasn’t finding the peace that I see all the time on the street, and in EVERY running magazine. I mean after all, if you google fitness images, a vast majority feature runners climbing a mountain and saying “just do it.” So I kept trying.
I did the half marathon, and I ended up with a broken foot and a torn meniscus. So I stopped for a while. A long while, actually. My body healed. I kept up with my fitness in other ways. And then….
A few months ago…the thought hit me again. Tina…you should RUN!
So I started. I signed up for a 5k, and started training. And guess what. I STILL hate it. Within weeks, my old foot injuries had flared up, and my knees are hurting.
So I began to ask myself, WHY am I doing this again?
And like a flash of lightening, the reality hit.
Because somewhere in the dark corners of my mind, I am STILL not a success with fitness unless I CAN RUN! On some level, even with my new ideas on health and fitness, I STILL held close to that belief that if I was truly going to be a healthy fit person, I would need to be able to run.
And I noticed something. I see so many women who are trying to lose weight whose ultimate end fitness goal is more often than not, RUNNING. Be it a 5k, or a marathon, it’s a sign of success. It’s an interesting phenomenon really. Some will take to it, and some won’t, and I guess I want those to know that if you hate it completely, if it’s hard and you realize that you just aren’t cut out for it, that doesn’t mean you failed. It’s just not your THING.
Now, please do not think I am slamming on running. I know and love a LOT of people who run. For them, running is everything I WANTED it to be for me. It’s their therapy, their joy. It’s their THING. I love that. I ENVY it. And I will be happy to stand at the finish line as they cross and cheer my heart out.
I just don’t want to DO it anymore. And I have realized something in the past few weeks as I nurse my sore foot and knees…..I DON’T HAVE TO to be successful. My name is Tina, and I will NEVER be a gazelle.
It’s a simple concept really, but one it has taken me a long time to realize. Running is NOT my THING! I’m fairly certain my THING should be something that gives me the joy that I was envious of in runners, but never found for myself. It should make me feel good, and give me positive thoughts, not negative ones. It shouldn’t cause me to break bones or tear up my knees. It should make me feel positive, and empowered, and strong. I shouldn’t dread doing it.
So here’s my point….don’t think that you aren’t successful because you can’t fit your life into someone else’s mold. Running isn’t my thing. That doesn’t mean I am not fit and healthy. It doesn’t mean that I have failed. It just means it’s not for me. My successes aren’t found at the finish line of a race.
I enjoy strength training. It makes me feel happy. I leave feeling like I have accomplished things. My muscles ache when I’m done, but in a good way, not in a “holy crap, I just broke myself” kind of way. I don’t dread it. I look forward to it. When I’m doing it, I have positive thoughts (mostly) in my head. It’s a good thing.
It’s MY thing. And I’m glad I’ve found it.
I hope you can find yours….and more importantly, be open to whatever it might be.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I have a 10 year old daughter. And surrounding us, our neighbors have daughters of varying ages…older and younger, and they are all friends. Relatively GOOD friend, and have been for many years. And as usually happens when you put a lot of young girls together, there is often drama. Egos and hormones and jealousies arise, and eventually there are tears, snotty words, or fights. Most conflict is minor, and play resumes quickly.
Well...this weekend, I had the windows open and was casually listening to their conversations, and I tell you what….I was flabbergasted. They played just fine, and then for whatever reason, the conflict hit. Now it wasn’t the conflict that hit me and rubbed me wrong, but their RESPONSE to it.
They began cutting one another down with insults, until one was crying and the rest left her alone in her yard. It was staggering.
Not the words they used, or whatever it was that they were arguing about, but the fact, that even at such a young age, it was easy to cut another girl down by honing in on her weak spot and attacking. They were being outright mean to one another, for no other reason, than because they were jealous about something. Instead of dealing with the conflict, they turned on one another. And I want to make this clear...MY daughter was part of this....and I was saddened by it.
Well...I had enough and I called them out on it. I forced them to sit down and talk it out. I told them that they had been friends for far too long to treat one another that way, and that it ended THAT MOMENT. They need to have one another’s backs, not cut one another down. (I’m very lucky by the way, that the kids in my ‘hood and their parents, are often more like family to me than just neighbors, so I can say this to their kids along with my own and not fear retribution…haha)
And as usually happens within a short amount of time, they had apologized, and moved on. And the levity once again returned to our backyard compound. But as I talked with MY kid later in the day, she could repeat every insult verbatim. The fight was over, but the words stayed with her.
We hear it all the time. “Girls can be Mean.” Well you know what? That is NOT okay with me anymore. We excuse it away as growing up…or hormones….or being too sensitive. I’m guilty of all those excuses. And we continue doing this…even as adults. I know we all make judgements and cut down one another when we feel weak, and it’s NOT RIGHT LADIES! These young girls need to understand the power we can give one another, and see the value in treating one another with respect.
I am going to do my best, to work with my daughter, to teach her that attacking with words is no different than a slap across the face. Both leave a mark, and often the words leave a more lasting one. I want to teach her that using words like “ugly” and “spoiled” and “stupid” can leave a mark on someone’s soul that will last a lifetime. I want to teach her to use words carefully, and always remember that they have had an effect on her, and they will have an effect on others too.
I want us to teach our girls, especially those in a tight knit circle, to SUPPORT one another and have each other’s back. They need to be standing up for each other when things get tough. They need to understand that conflict is going to arise, and sometimes things aren’t going to go smoothly, but stooping to insults and hateful words does irreversible damage to a person’s psyche…and that their words have power. Both for good as well as evil.
They also need to learn that words like “fat” and “ugly” aren’t okay even when used in jest. You can joke about my weight all you want, and I will probably laugh along with you, but inside, it’s a knife to my heart. These words are not funny. EVER! And I think our kids sometimes think as long as something is said with a smile or a laugh that it doesn’t count. NOT SO! No matter how mad or jealous you get, damaging another human being is never okay. Even when it’s done with a smile.
I am afraid I may be losing some of my “cool mom” cred with the girls by telling them I would no longer accept this in my yard. I think they were a little shocked because I’m usually pretty laid back. But from now on in my little corner of the world, girls aren’t allowed to cut one another down. I hope that maybe for an instant when they want to react to someone with hateful words, they remember the time Miss Tina blew her fuse in the backyard and reminded them that they were all friends.
We learn this behavior at an early age, and I think if we as women want to see change in how we treat one another as women, we need to put some focus on our girls.
I know I’ll be putting some focus on mine.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Last week was a toughie.
I did something that made me stumble a little, and for starters….I have to thank you all. I received more response to that particular post than any other I have written. I think it struck a chord with so many of you. Maybe your struggles aren’t the same as mine, but we all fight the battle of being good enough.
And from that thought I began doing some research, which has lead to the internet, which has lead to some self diagnosis. (oh dear LORD she’s been reading again!) Are you ready???
MY NAME IS TINA, AND I AM AN ATELOPHOBIAC.
I say this in jest, but dang, who wouldda thunk? There is actually a PHOBIA of not being good enough, and frankly, I’m beginning to think most everyone I know suffers from it a little.
It makes sense really. We live in a world of competition. We are taught from an early age that winning matters. It gets the glory, the trophies, and the accolades. There is always competition, be it sporting, professional, or personal. We want the medal. We want the promotion. We want the perfect relationship. And in that endeavor, we have created images of what success looks like, through the media, and more importantly in our own minds. And if we don’t achieve these things, we somehow are lacking….not good enough.
Striving for more isn’t the problem, it ‘s the “image” we have created for ourselves of winning that might be. If all we were looking for was to achieve our personal best, then I’d be telling a different story right now, but what I’m coming to realize is that we aren’t looking for PERSONAL bests sometimes, but we are looking to be THE BEST. Better than everyone else. And that’s where the conflict hits.
At what point in our lives to we reach “good enough?”
I’m not suggesting that we should stop trying, or stop wanting to become a better version of ourselves, but at what point can we find contentment with where we sit. When can we look around ourselves and say….”Yup….my life is good, and if nothing changes in it ever again, I will pass on with contentment in my heart?”
I’m working on that. I hope to find that part of myself that can recognize the beauty in my life, without connecting it directly to where I would like to be. I’ve had people for years tell me if I can accept where I am and be happy, that the struggle would be much less, and I think that they might be right.
I would like to change a few things, but nothing I want changed about myself makes a lick of difference in WHO I AM. I am a good mother, a good friend, and a good person no matter what I weigh, eat, or how much I exercise. I have great kids, and great husband, and a really nice home. I am blessed. That should be enough.
Making those changes that have recently played such a strong role in my desire for “enough,” should be the cherry on top of my life, not the things that define it.
So, I am hereby beginning the recovery process from Atelophobia. And I think that perhaps the way to do that is to accept that today, sitting here in my pink plaid pajama bottoms with my hair in a ponytail and my glasses on, I am worthy of happiness. I am good enough. And if I never lose another pound, or never win a race, never keep my house as clean as my neighbor, or eat an occasional piece of pizza….I can be happy. I will most likely never look like a supermodel, or those women on the cover of Shape magazine, and I may never reach that magical number. But....As long as I attempt to always be the best version of ME that I can be….I am enough.
I'd rather be the ME today, who is working on acceptance, than the ME of last week who fell apart because she couldn't recognize anything but what she thought she hadn't achieved.
I AM ENOUGH. Take THAT Atelophobia! Take THAT!
Thursday, April 4, 2013
You know what this is a picture of? It's the space in my bathroom where my scale USED to live.
I say "used to" because I had my husband take it away for good today. I can't have it. It breaks me.
I made a critical error today. I stepped on it for the first time in about two months. I felt strong. I felt confident. And for that split second I felt that I needed validation of what I was feeling, so I looked to my nemesis the scale. And guess what, as it always has in our torrid love affair....it let me down. It broke my spirit.
That number is something that in one fail swoop momentarily stripped me of all the positives I felt. My heart sunk, and my spirit cracked. I sat in my bathtub and cried.
I work so hard. SO HARD. I am strong, and healthy, and compassionate, and kind. I don't cheat at this. I try to live it. And that one stupid step took a little piece of that away. It tried to steal all my thunder.
For a few moments I felt it, but I recovered. I recognized the feelings, and although I couldn't make the immediate emotion of it stop completely, I was able to see the truth behind it. I won't quit and I will keep trying. If you've never had this sad relationship with your weight, this might sound pathetic, but it truly is that simple. Weight for me is a pass-fail option. I'm either losing or gaining. One is a win and one is a lose. It doesn't matter what the number is, it doesn't matter if I stay the same....one way wins and the other loses. It's really not a fair game to play with myself.
So I asked my husband to take it away. I don't know where it went. And I don't really care. Today I saw with true clarity how it breaks me just a little each time I use it. And even though I can go months without it, I WILL eventually step back on...."just to see." And that "just to see" will break me a little each and every time, and it takes a little piece of my success from me.
So...I hope this time I'm really done. I'm tired of fighting a battle I just cannot win. So I kicked the scale to the curb ( or wherever jason put it) and am going to do my best to refocus on what has been feeling good and successful and true. And eventually I hope I won't even notice the vacant spot on the floor where it used to sit.....